FDR's first inaugural address, which contains the full quote in the fifth sentence:
"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
"Looking at the date of the speech, 1933, and reading a bit further into Roosevelt's address, we realized that he was referring to the economic conditions of the time -- in other words, "The Great Depression". He was essentially saying, 'if we can't shake our pessimistic economic outlook, it will be tough to turn things around.'
"President Roosevelt was calling for a little irrational exuberance..."
The seventh paragraph says:
"Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy
of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral
stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of
evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if
they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to
minister to ourselves and to our fellow men."
But not a lot of that going around by those who can actually affect things. So its needed to be legislated. So, its funny when those same people (the rich, the elected officials, the appointed in positions of power) complain about big government. Perhaps THEY should be making decisions to change things from the ground up, in stead of waiting for those on high (higher than they) to tell them (force them) to do what is right.